Magdalene was called to the Singapore Bar in May 1996. She joined the corporate litigation department of M/s Khattar Wong & Partners in 1996 and moved to the shipping department of the firm in March 1997. In September 1999, she joined M/s Joseph Tan Jude Benny where she was made a Senior Associate from June 2000. She left in November 2002 to set up M/s AsiaLegal LLC as a Director.
In her years of practice, Magdalene has accumulated experience in both contentious as well as non-contentious work.
In 2012, she jointly presented a paper, "Singapore - Arrest Procedure, Peculiarities and Pitfalls" at the annual conference of the Maritime Law Association of South Africa in Cape Town. Also in 2012, she was appointed and appeared in a London arbitration as an expert witness on the registration of ships under Singapore law. In 2013, 2014 and 2015, she was nominated for the Euromoney Legal Media Group Asia Women in Business Law Awards under the Shipping practice area. In 2015, she was elected as President for the Singapore chapter of the Women's International Shipping and Trading Association.
Appointments / Professional Memberships
Member of the Singapore Academy of Law
Member of the Law Society of Singapore
President of the Women's International Shipping and Trading Association (Singapore Chapter)
Member of the Singapore Institute of Arbitrators
Contentious / Litigation Experience
Magdalene’s litigation experience covers general commercial litigation as well as more specific areas of litigation practice such as insolvency, shipping and admiralty.
As far as her litigation experience in shipping and admiralty, she has handled and advised on cargo claims, demurrage claims, claims for charterhire/freight, crew claims, detention of cargo disputes, charterparty disputes, collision claims, Mare del Nord orders and general average claims. The cases she is involved in or has handled/ assisted in are:
Currently advising and acting for the owners of the "Kaminesan" in respect of issues arising out of a complex large-scale ongoing collision matter involving 3 vessels ("Kaminesan, "Hyundai No. 105" and "Mamitsa") and cargo claims in excess of US$120 million, including commencing a limitation action, obtaining a limitation decree, opposing various stay applications, and challenging the right to limit of the owners of "Mamitsa";
Acted for owners of the “Asian Hercules” in an action brought against them by a radar engineer who was injured when he was hit by the mooring wire of the vessel whilst taking a short cut through a shipyard. At 1st instance, Justice Woo Bih Li (see Toh Siew Kee v Ho Ah Lam Ferrocement (Pte) Ltd and others  3 SLR 227;  SGHC 87) held that the plaintiff had knowingly trespassed onto the shipyard, and as such, under the common law rules governing an occupier’s liability, an occupier owed no duty of care to an adult trespasser who trespassed knowingly and without any reasonable excuse for doing so. The Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeal reversed the decision and found the owners to be 50% liable. In a landmark decision (See Toh Siew Kee v Ho Ah Lam Ferrocement (Pte) Ltd and others  3 SLR 284;  SGCA 29) the Court of Appeal abolished the law of occupiers’ liability in Singapore and held that the same should be subsumed under the tort of negligence since “the time was now ripe for Singapore to cut the Gordian knot shackling the rules on occupiers' liability, rather than attempt to unravel it”.
Advised and acted for owners in an arbitration to successfully recover agreed lumpsum charter hire and other fees from a Malaysian entity who had terminated the charterparty on alleged grounds of fundamental breach, misrepresentation and force majeure.
Advised and acted for the owners of the "High Endurance" in respect of issues arising out of a 3-ship collision involving "Merkur Bridge" and "RSS Persistence", including advising on issues of jurisdiction, limitation, anti-suit injunctions, etc;
Advised on salvage, general average, charterparty and bill of lading issues related to the explosion/fire on board the "Hanjin Pennsylvania" including obtaining a court order for the sale/disposal of cargoes discharged from the vessel and abandoned by cargo interests;
Advised cargo interests in relation to salvage, general average, charterparty and bill of lading issues arising out of an explosion and fire on board the vessel "Gillian".
Advised shipowners and cargo interests on claims arising out of the loss of cargo/containers laden on board the vessels "Ching Ho", "Noble Spirit" and "Xpress Resolve";
Advised and represented shipowners in relation to oil pollution incidents as well as personal/fatal injury claims;
Advised and acted for ECICS in their enforcement of a fleet mortgage against the ECON Group's 9 vessels (including in the arrest and sale of the said vessels);
Acted for a mortgagee bank based in Bangladesh in mortgage enforcement proceedings against Bangladeshi shipowners in The "Banga Borat"  2 SLR 613 where issues of waiver, estoppel and abuse of process within the doctrine of res judicata were raised;
Acted for freight forwarders in Pacific Integrated Logistics Pte Ltd v German Vernel International Freight Ltd  1 SLR 1017 and applied successfully for security for costs;
Acted for the owners of the vessel "Asia Star" in The "Asia Star"  SGHC 115, in a dispute involving the alleged breach of a time charterparty on the Vegoilvoy form;
Acted for shipowners in Ever Lucky Shipping Company Limited v Sunlight Mercantile Pte Ltd  SGHC 80 which was one of the first general average claims to go to trial in Singapore;
Acted in Admiral Chartering Ltd v The Owners of the vessel "Rainbow Spring"  2 SLR 117 where the Court opined on the test to apply in a challenge to a Warrant of Arrest on the ground of material non-disclosure;
Acted in Oriental Insurance Co Ltd v Bhavani Stores Pte Ltd  1 SLR 253where the Court of Appeal set out the factors to consider and applicable burden of proof in applications for stay of proceedings on the ground on forum non conveniens;
Acted in Transfield Shipping Inc. Panama v Sino-Add (Singapore) Pte Ltd (Academy Digest, A-19/2001, pg 20) where the Court opined on the applicable burden of proof to show a risk of dissipation and upheld the Mareva injunction granted.
Magdalene also has experience in dealing with and advising on claims relating to air cargo and the Carriage of Goods By Air Act. In particular, she handled a dispute relating to the applicability of the Amended Warsaw Convention (Powermatic-Apcom Systems Pte Ltd v. Concord Express (S) Pte Ltd  3 SLR 513) where the Court of Appeal decided that the Amended Warsaw Convention did not apply to freight forwarders.
Magdalene’s insolvency litigation experience includes acting for a company in liquidation and the liquidator against former directors in relation to claims for breaches of directors’ duties, undue preference and fraudulent trading. In particular, she assisted at the trial in an action commenced by liquidators against the former directors of the company in liquidation in Liquidator of W&P Piling Pte Ltd v Chew Yin What  4 SLR 218 and also in the application filed pursuant to Section 285 of the Companies Act to examine the former directors of the company viva voce in relation to the company's "missing assets" and related transactions Liquidator of W&P Piling Pte Ltd v Chew Yin What  3 SLR 164. She also acted for the liquidator in Yap Jeffery Henry and Another v Ho Mun-Tuke Don  3 SLR 427, where the creditors of the company in liquidation applied to court to have the liquidator of company removed. She has also acted for a receiver and manager against the liquidator in a dispute over priority of distribution of liquidation assets; and for a receiver and manager against directors of a subsidiary company.
Magdalene also assisted in a dispute involving an application for a stay of court proceedings in favour or arbitration under s.6 of the International Arbitration Act (Cap143A): Dalian Hualiang Enterprise Group Co Ltd and Another v Louis Dreyfus Asia Pte Ltd  4 SLR 646.
Magdalene has also acted for and advised hospitals and doctors on medical negligence claims and related general matters, drafted and advised on consent forms, cooperation agreements etc. (Eg. Tan Yang Chai v Kandang Kerbau Hospital Pte Ltd  3 SLR 399 where the court considered the issue of limitation in medical negligence cases.)
Magdalene has handled numerous Ship Financing and Sale and Purchase transactions at M/s AsiaLegal LLC as well as at M/s KhattarWong and M/s Joseph Tan Jude Benny.
She has independently advised on and attended to the closure and/or completion of many sale & purchase and ship financing transactions, both local and international. She has also drafted and advised on a shipbuilding contract for The Private Office of His Royal Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In 2012, Magdalene was appointed and appeared in a London arbitration as an expert witness on the registration of ships under Singapore law.
Magdalene has acted for both borrowers and lenders in numerous loan transactions involving vessel mortgages ranging in value from US$250,000 to US$36 million. She has drafted loan and security documentation including facility agreements, statutory and common law mortgages, deeds of covenants, assignments, guarantees, undertakings, memoranda of charge on deposits, deeds of subordination.
She has acted inter alia for the following shipowners and financial institutions:-
Financial Institutions:- Development Bank of Singapore, DBS Finance Limited, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, ABN Amro Bank N.V., Christiania Bank OG Kreditkasse ASA, Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited, Malayan Banking Berhad, India International Insurance Pte Ltd, Hanvit Bank, ECICS-Coface Guarantee Company (Singapore) Limited
Shipowners:- Great Eastern Shipping Corporation (India), Wan Hai Lines (Singapore) Pte Ltd, Topniche Marine Pte Ltd, Aria Indonesia Jaya Pte Ltd, Golden Island Shipping Pte Ltd, Assets Shipowners and Managers Pte Ltd, Halim Mazmin Berhad, Prestige Marine Services Pte Ltd, Wijsmuller Offshore Terminal Towage (Far East) Pte Ltd, Econ Corporation International Ltd Most recently, in M/s AsiaLegal LLC, Magdalene has handled the following transactions:-
"Switch" securitization of trade credit facilities involving mortgages over vessels "Berjaya Dua" And "Princess Maryam" from Prestige Marine Services Pte Ltd to Trans-Tec / World Fuels;
Mortgages of 9 vessels from Econ Corporation International Ltd to ECICS-Coface Guarantee Company (Singapore) Limited.
Sale and Purchase Transactions
Magdalene has advised on and attended to closure and/or completion of sale & purchase and ship financing transactions, both local and international. She has drafted sale and purchase documentation including Memoranda of Agreement, Sale and Purchase Agreements, deeds of variation, resolutions, letters of undertaking, powers of attorney.
In particular, she acted in the following transactions:-
Sale of assets (including fleet of 22 vessels) from Maritime Holdings Ltd to PSA Marine Pte Ltd, including conduct of negotiations on S&P terms, review and advice on existing charterparties, mortgages/charges over the fleet and employment contracts;
Sale and purchase of 3 tugs from Semrental (B) Sdn Bhd to Wijsmuller Offshore Terminal Towage (Far East) Pte Ltd;
Sale and purchase of 4 tankers from Ignition Point Pte Ltd to a Singapore buyer;
Sale and purchase of rig "MV Noram 252" from American sellers to Thai buyers;
Sale and purchase of rig "MV Molly Brown" and proposed on-sale to Neptune Marine group involving partial share swop;
Sale of rig "Soraya";
Sale and purchase of "MV Fordeco 27";
Sale and purchase of "MV Labroy 90” and “MV Labroy 190";
Sale and purchase of "MV Indo Pacific Perdana" from Indonesian sellers to Singapore buyers;
Sale and purchase of "MV Marine Pride";
Sale and purchase of "MV Princess of Rotterdam" from Norwegian sellers to Indonesian buyers;
Sale and purchase of "MV Smart Reefer Satu";
Sale and purchase of "MV Assets Pioneer" and "MV Assets Venture".
Review and advice on Time Charter Contract
Magdalene, together with fellow director, Timothy Tan, has been actively involved in representing and advising clients in relation to all aspects of oil & gas exploitation activities and related contract documentation, including financing and insurance requirements. In particular, she has rendered extensive advice on an oil & gas project involving the conversion and provision of a LPG-FSO and other operational and management services by a Indonesian-Singaporean consortium in Indonesia.